Gather Around the Table

The cooler fall weather is bringing everyone inside. What a perfect time to gather your family and friends around your table for great food and fellowship.

I’ve loved gathering for meals since I was a little girl. With our large family of nine seated around the table, we shared food and tidbits of our lives with those we loved.

I carried that love of family meals to my home when I married and had two little ones. Things changed when the girls became teenagers with jobs, sports and other activities that often made the 6:00 dinner hour a challenge. But, I clung to times of gathering around our table. We may have eaten at 8:30 p.m., but we came together several nights each week to share a meal, our “happiest things”, and how we spent our time apart.

Here are a few ways to enjoy meals with family and friends:

  • Since the invention of Pinterest, you may think you need a table set with fine china and fresh flowers for your family to enjoy mealtime. Your table may be worn or wobbly. But don’t fret; it’s not the table and place setting, but the food and company that will seal the deal! Gather favorite recipes to cook for your family and friends. Let them help plan out the menu. Try a new recipe one night each week and vote – does it make it to the favorite list? Have a theme night each month such as Mexican, Italian or meatless meals. I have a friend who has Taco Tuesdays – one of her family’s favorite meals. Include family and/or friends in the meal prep. Maybe you have your own cook off? Be creative and have fun with mealtime!
  • Make the kitchen/dining room table a “no tech zone”. Have a family rule that all phones, iPods, laptops, etc. are left in a basket or a safe place away from the table during meals. Also, no television viewing while you gather to eat. I challenge you to stick to this rule, even if you receive complaints and grumbles at first. Your family and friends will enjoy conversation, laughter and soon forget about missing a text!
  • When my girls were growing up, I loved creating a place for our family to gather and enjoy meals that was beautiful, yet functional. I would scour through clearance items at stores and pick up placemats, cloth napkins, and centerpieces to decorate our table. It doesn’t need to be expensive to set a pretty table. Now as a single woman, I still love to decorate my table and eating area. I have a hutch where I display and change items each season/holiday. Make this a fun project and enlist the help of your family and friends. Plus, remember this advice from a friend, dishes and other items don’t need to match – think shabby chic and enjoy the hunt!
  • After you have your family gathered, a great meal cooked, a beautiful table set and no cell phones, now what? Our family went around the table each night and shared our “happiest things” of the day. Or check out conversation starters; you can purchase at bookstores. Place these cards in the center of your table and encourage everyone to pick one at mealtime and answer the question. Even disinterested teenagers will enjoy this game-like way to promote conversation!
  • Use this time around the table to pray together and share devotionals. This was easier when my daughters were young. So, when they hit the teenage years, I kept a devotional book in the center of the table along with a notebook for prayer concerns. This idea I gleaned from a Beth Moore book allowed our busy family to continue the habit of sharing our concerns even when we had meals apart. I have a friend that has a weekly family meeting on Sunday nights to discuss the upcoming week’s activities, work schedules, and things they want to do together. Your table will soon become the hub of your home!

So, set your table with mismatched dishes, serve a simple meal and gather your family for food and fellowship. What suggestions do you have for easy and fun mealtimes? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

 

Lori Burrell

Lori loves encouraging and talking to women of all ages! Her favorite word is “joy” and she loves to help others seek and find it in their own lives. After going through a difficult season, Lori desires that others find hope and peace in trials and hardships. She is grateful that God is allowing her to pursue her passion of coaching women to live a life of no regret!
About Lori Burrell

Lori loves encouraging and talking to women of all ages! Her favorite word is “joy” and she loves to help others seek and find it in their own lives. After going through a difficult season, Lori desires that others find hope and peace in trials and hardships. She is grateful that God is allowing her to pursue her passion of coaching women to live a life of no regret!

Comments

  1. Deanetta Thompson says:

    I don’t think people realize how fast our babies grow into adults gaining their own responsibilities. I miss my children growing up, when I say miss, I mean I was not there due to obligations while serving in the Armed Forces. This is a good post. We live in such a microwave world. Some parents don’t take the time to enjoy their families, and communicate with their children or each other. Food is prepared, children are told to eat, do their homework and get ready for bed. No communication! Love this!

    • Deanetta,
      I agree that mealtime is such a great time to connect. Now that I am a single empty nester, I love to gather with my girlfriends for meals. We take turns hosting the place, everyone brings a food item and we chat and laugh the night away.
      I certainly treasure the meals I have with my two adult daughters….they are less frequent…..but memories continue to be made!
      Thank you for leaving a comment!

  2. I used to try a new meal every week, my stepson loved it and called it “the experient of the week”.

  3. Lori:
    This is a great article and you picked the best time of the year to post it. I hope people apply the advice to their family time. Being together is so key to family bonding on a lot of levels, the most important is spiritual.

    • Lynnae,
      Family meals were so special while the girls were home and we still enjoy the times we can gather for great food and conversation! I’m sure you love this time with your family!
      Thank you for leaving a comment,
      Lori

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